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Chris  Jones our speaker for Dying with Dignity says:

Unexpected delays are never good, but when the delay is caused by the Government of Canada’s failure to close key gaps in our federal medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation, it is also cruel and unnecessary.

I am more than annoyed by this inaction — I am downright frustrated. Because I know the very people who are suffering needlessly under this incomplete law.

People like Donna, who watched Ian, her husband of 46 years, experience a horrific struggle with the cruel and irremediable disease, Alzheimer’s — until he eventually died in a hospital.

Though Ian had written out his end-of-life wishes in a personal directive, the law does not allow for MAID requests to be honoured in this way, representing a barrier for those who have not been assessed and approved for MAID who suddenly lose capacity.

Far too many people across Canada have witnessed unimaginable suffering and loss of their loved ones due to the current ban on advance requests. I say, enough is enough.  While some of the stories that reach my Support team are difficult to hear, there are many MAID experiences that give me hope that — with the right laws in place — fairer access is possible for those who are eligible.

People like Andrea, whose husband successfully accessed MAID make me proud of the support we can offer. Roy and Andrea first reached out to Dying With Dignity Canada to learn about MAID, and to understand the steps needed to get assessed. It was an enormous relief to Roy when he learned he still qualified — even though it was cutting it close to the time when he would no longer be able to communicate his wishes — and that feeling of relief should be available to everyone.

To speak plainly: I don’t want anyone with long- standing wishes for MAID to ever feel like they may miss the window to make a request. In recent years, the federal government amended Canada’s MAID law to include a waiver of final consent for some cases, but advance requests would offer peace of mind to a far greater number of people across Canada seeking end-of-life choice.

As we advocated for further improvements to legislation, I want you to know that my team and I are continuing to support people across Canada through their end-of-life journey — no matter the choice they make. In fact, this fall we plan to:

  • Connect with more health professionals and those working in community care, so that accessing MAID across Canada is not a significant barrier;
  • Publish more educational materials — including on MAID and dementia — to help debunk myths and misconceptions; and
  • Translate our resources into languages beyond English and French, to allow for fairer access for new-comers.

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